A Japanese air traffic controller has published on his personal blog classified Air Force One flight plans of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Tokyo last year.
Japan’s air traffic authorities has found out about the incident through an anonymous phone call on Monday warning the “inappropriate posting of information”, reported Jiji Press. All the postings have been deleted after that.
President Barack Obama has visited Japan in November to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Yokohama.
The air traffic controller, a man about 50 years old, has posted photos of flight plans and radar, said NHK. The information about Air Force One included its takeoff and landing, scheduled routes, transit times, and flight altitude. This kind of details are kept secret for security reasons.
He also has uploaded the flight plan for an unmanned American reconnaissance aircraft dispatched to gather radiation data from Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, said Kyodo News agency. The US surveillance jet Global Hawk has flown above the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant several times since the March 11 tsunami triggered Japan’s nuclear crisis.
The air traffic controller has obtained the information from computer screen shots he took while he was working at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
He said he “wanted his friends to see” what he had obtained, said Yomiuri and Sankei Shimbun.
The transport ministry was investigating and considering disciplinary action for the air traffic controller, said Kyodo and NHK.
A senior government official, quoted by Yomiuri, said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda “will have to apologize to President Obama”, at their summit in New York.
Noda will present the findings to Obama when he will travel to Washington later this month. Noda said he wanted to strengthen ties between the countries and has expressed strong support for the U.S.-Japan security alliance, said Kyodo.
However, it is not clear if the data leaked before or after Obama flew from Seoul to Tokyo.
This incident apparently is another confirmation to the worldwide travel alert issued by the United States ahead of the 10th commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.
Government officials were not immediately available for comment on this unusual air traffic controller behavior.